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1961 Impala 2 door hard top mild custom

 
Old 11-19-2016, 09:10 AM
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Where are you located? "Mid Missouri" is a little vague, it's a big state. Hahaha
I just spun through your photobucket link. The new metal on that Chevelle is looking good.

That's why I post here is to share and learn.

I wish I had time to post everything I do, but I don't and sometimes can't because the owner doesn't want it out until the car is finished.
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:22 PM
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Fantastic !!!!!
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:04 PM
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Great build and fab work. Love a 61...tagging along for rest.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gofastwclass View Post
Where are you located? "Mid Missouri" is a little vague, it's a big state. Hahaha
I just spun through your photobucket link. The new metal on that Chevelle is looking good.

That's why I post here is to share and learn.

I wish I had time to post everything I do, but I don't and sometimes can't because the owner doesn't want it out until the car is finished.
I'm in Rolla, don't post much on this forum yet, still learning. The learning curve when you get older is more like a hair pin curve. Is this what you do in KC?
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Old 11-20-2016, 12:08 PM
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Looking forward to updates!

The rubber gaskets that Tanks Inc. sends are garbage. Mine started swelling after 30 days exposure to E10. They sent me cork gaskets and I used them in conjunction with Pematex Aviation sealer and have not had any issues since.

Andrew
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:31 PM
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Thanks guys!

Originally Posted by Mikes64 View Post
I'm in Rolla, don't post much on this forum yet, still learning. The learning curve when you get older is more like a hair pin curve. Is this what you do in KC?
Bummer, I was hoping you were a little closer. Still, possible I might still see you at a show sometime. There is a really large show in Ottawa I attend each year with 2000 plus cars older than 1972.

Is this what I do as a job? Hardly, this is my hobby. I have to work in IT to support my car habit. Sometimes I wish it was my job, but we can all dream can't we? Hahaha.


Originally Posted by Project GatTagO View Post
Looking forward to updates!

The rubber gaskets that Tanks Inc. sends are garbage. Mine started swelling after 30 days exposure to E10. They sent me cork gaskets and I used them in conjunction with Pematex Aviation sealer and have not had any issues since.

Andrew

I agree. I'm also disappointed with the gaskets Tank's Inc. sent with the kit. They didn't feel right straight away before I installed them. Mine didn't last more than a few weeks of partial fills and leaked on the first full tank. That is the only part of the Tanks setup I have a real gripe about. I used Permatex Motoseal after talking to you, but I'm not using any filler as a gasket and haven't had an issue in over a year.
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:39 PM
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One set of my 1962 - 1964 Impala SS buckets found their way into the car along with my original rear seat. I installed the brackets I on the transmission side of each seat and positioned the seats using the factory fasteners near the door. A few tack welds and the seat brackets were immobile so the seat could be removed for final welding. As you can see in one of the photos, the floor has an interesting mix of rust and solid. Some parts of this car are exceptionally solid and others are simply gone. The floors were so bad in some areas, my shop-vac was pulling up parts of the floor that were still attached!






Check out that awesome custom (drunken) stitching!






The maiden voyage after 10 years of hibernation and moving to a new house was 7-19-2015
I went down the block and back after running in the driveway for probably 20 minutes. No leaks or problems other than the mufflers dragging the ground with just me in the car. Time to raise the front a bit before the woman goes for a ride and front sheet metal gets installed.

At this point weíre looking a bit Road Warrior. Iím sure my neighbours love me. Hahaha

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Old 11-21-2016, 08:12 PM
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My holy fender, I need to fix this at some point…





The car after a bit of love with the power washer…










Another shot inside the trunk. I can’t wait to replace all this sheet metal.




The car is backed in my shop getting ready to install the front and rear roll pans. In the background of this image you can see one of the pairs of fenders I have.

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Old 11-21-2016, 08:16 PM
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My friendly UPS guy dropped off a gift from American Racing Ė a set of Torq Thrust IIís. This is the favourite of the few aftermarket wheels I like, but I realize they only look right on certain older vehicles.


I think these wheels give just the right retro 1960ís vibe with a sprinkle of modern I was looking for on this car. The overall look is very subdued with the polished aluminum barrel and cap supported by flat gray spokes. This fits the look of the car now and will play into my future plans quite well once the body work is complete.




Clearance Ė the measuring paid off, I have a lot of room.






Mounted.






Installed.

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Old 11-21-2016, 08:55 PM
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Fuses, relays and connectorsÖ







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Old 11-22-2016, 07:13 PM
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Big brakes and the reason I have 18Ē wheels, all delivered in a pair of 60lb boxes from CPP.



Inside the boxes Ė a matching pair of theseÖ











Also included; an always welcome fender cover and sticker.




New front and rear springs are not very exciting to look at:






Nicopp brake line and fittings.








New master cylinder with an excellent chrome finish that wonít photograph worth a darn:






View of the internal metering valve and adjustable proportioning valve.





Bootom view of the ports.



Hydroboost brake adapter.









First order of business was cutting off the offending original eyelet. Eyelet, meet Mr. BandsawÖ




Then I had to tap the remaining rod 3/8 Ė 24 so I could install the threaded adapter from my carÖ




Sadly I failed to get a picture of the finished product on the bench. Now itís installed so youíll have to settle for an upside down in-car shot. You probably wonít believe this, but I was about two turns away from ideal on my first whack. I guess it pays to measureÖ :biggrin:

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Old 11-23-2016, 03:21 PM
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While the spindles were off the car I installed Moog 658A springs in the front of the car. These springs measured 17.125 inches fresh from the box. The spring wire is slightly thicker than the spring wire I had, but I lost my note on the actual dimension. I believe it was .010Ē heavier gauge for the Moog compared to my factory spring.

Uncompressed front spring length.




The 13Ē front rotor.




Swept area.




According to my math I could squeeze a 14Ē rotor on the car with these wheels but I didnít want to push it. I actually stole my 14Ē Camaro brakes for mock up but decided 13Ē was fine for this build. Due to the shadows itís difficult to see, I have plenty of clearance.




Billet aluminum front hub with .5Ē longer studs




Driver side front suspension apart.




I bench bled the master cylinder using extra NiCopp line since it is easy to bend and I had extra line and fittings.




Double flared and installed new NiCopp front brake lines.




Passenger side front brake installed.

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Old 11-25-2016, 01:25 PM
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While out cruising with friends I tweaked a trunk hinge while closing the deck lid.
To start, my trunk has always (for the last 23-24 years) made a pop noise and had a heavy friction point at the top when trying to close. For years I assumed this was normal until I saw cars at shows and my parts car that didnít do this. Recently the friction point was getting progressively higher until last week when I sprung the hinge trying to close the deck lid. Several weeks prior I had realized my trunk opening was very low compared to my parts car which didnít pop when closed.

Investigation showed a pair of bent and worn out pins (one each side) on the hinge spring mechanism.

Near hinge is good, far hinge is bent.




Bad hinge on the right.




Flipped over with the bad hinge on the left.




This bar is supposed to be straight. I believe I found my culprit.




The pin diameter measured .217Ē on average and the holes were a bit worn so I went to the next larger size of .250Ē for strength, insurance and material availability.








I drilled the hinges for the new pin I was going to make and Installed the .250Ē steel round bar for a test fit.






I cut the material to fit.




A quick scuff with a 36 grit disc for surface prep and a pair of tack welds on each side with the MIG should hold it in place.




Total time invested, an hour and a half including taking photos of the first one which dramatically slows the process. Now my trunk opens all the way AND closes without excessive resistance. :biggrin:

Todayís expense: about $1 for the .250 round bar material, an hour and a half of my time fabricating, taking pictures and swapping hinges. Obviously this would have gone faster without the photos and if I had a friend to help with the deck lid. I marked the lid, used a prop rod and did one side at a time to maintain the alignment which was already decent.
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Old 11-25-2016, 05:35 PM
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Looks good, had to do almost the same on my chevelle
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Old 11-25-2016, 08:03 PM
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Thanks Mikes64. Part of the fun of older cars.



There are several holes in the firewall that will not be needed because I’m not running factory equipment. I marked these holes ages ago and finally took a bit of time to fill in a few. Some were random screw holes for long gone aftermarket add-on’s by previous owners while others were heat controls and the speedometer cable I no longer need. The smaller holes I used the MIG with .023 wire, the larger holes I cut a disc of similar gauge metal and tack welded it in over the course of several minutes to prevent warping.

Heat control hole.




Random holes and heat control.




Mostly tacked in.




Small holes ground to see where I’m at. A little more love with the MIG and abrasive disc and these will completely disappear.





My floor bits arrived so I brought them home. I ordered three sections: the full passenger compartment floor with braces from the firewall to the back of the rear seat, the raised area under the back window with braces and finally the full trunk floor with deep well and brace.

The first two parts are 1961 – 1964, the trunk deep well was made for a 1962 which is as close as you can purchase for a 1961 Impala. I have enough good 1961 Impala bits that I’ll convert the 1962 panel to 1961 status in the obviously different areas.

The full floor, top and bottom view.






Upper trunk shelf area.




Lower trunk floor.




I honestly don’t need all of this, but it’s easier to replace everything than to chase and patch holes or rust and dents everywhere.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:22 AM
  #36  
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Finally installing the shaved door solenoids Iíve had sitting on the shelf for at least two years. I guess Iím finally tired of reaching inside the car to open the door.

The driverís door handle and lock mechanism were already shaved 15 plus years ago because that was the only side I could easily reach where I had the car parked at the time. Tonight I disassembled both doors, lubricated the hinges, cleaned and lubricated the latch mechanisms and modified the works to accept the solenoid pulls.

I started with a Spal shaved door kit with remote I purchased from Speedway. The remote from this kit is only temporary, I mainly wanted the 40 pound pull weather resistant solenoids from this kit with everything else being bonus material. After I get a few things accomplished, Iíll install the final door release buttons and associated logic.




Spal 40 pound (pull) weather resistant solenoid (kit came with two).




Flaming River pulleys.




1/16 inch, 96 pound working limit galvanized wire rope from Lowes (around $0.26 / foot).




Transmitters and receiver from the Spal kit.




The Spal kit was fairly complete, but didnít include the pulleys I knew I would need and their wire rope was very short. If you are working on a more modern vehicle where the external door mechanism pushes down to release, this kit would be fine. For my car, the external door release pushes inward and doesnít leave a lot of room for modification. I used the horizontal pull for the interior release and actuated them both via the cables I purchased from Lowes.

This makes the installation a bit more complex, but better (in my opinion) as the lock mechanism automatically releases when the door is activated. If something happens and the lock is engaged, the solenoid pull automatically unlocks the door. Secondary, the door canít be locked without holding the exterior handle that doesnít exist. I could have tack welded the lock mechanism in place with the MIG or TIG, but I am not a fan of that due to the cleaning required and potential heat damage to the latch.

Short video of the remote door solenoids in action.



I apologize as my camera man (me) was on holiday so I wasnít able to get more in-progress pictures.

I have some ideas on external releases for the doors and drew them on the side of the car. This video is the end result of drawing on the car and driving around most of the weekend. Hopefully this can be be explained easier in the short 18 second video.

Keep in mind this is simply a proof of concept and nowhere near the final product.

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Old 11-26-2016, 01:20 PM
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a lot of nice updates. The car sounds good in the video. I like the wheel choice, they look great on there.
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Motown 454 View Post
a lot of nice updates. The car sounds good in the video. I like the wheel choice, they look great on there.
Thanks Wayne. I've been lurking on your build for a few years. I'm excited to see you getting close.
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:37 PM
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I spent most of this session disassembling, taking pictures, measurements and assessing the rust and prior amateur ďbody workĒ damage. As far as I can tell the car is incredibly square Ė especially when accounting for the rust damage Iíll show you as this process carries forward.

Interior removed.





Whenever Iím working on something like this, I like to use these homemade stands. The stands allow me to get under the vehicle, yet itís supported on the wheels so itís the most stable. Kind of a poor manís four post lift if you will.





The only place Iíve had any real concern was the passenger door gap. I donít think the doors have ever been off the car and they both close well so they make excellent reference points. The gap on the passenger door is much tighter at the top than the bottom which makes sense when you look under the rocker to the non-existent supports.




My ultra-high tech go-no go gauge.






I installed a brace in place of the inner rocker made from 1x2 box tubing welded to what little good metal was left in the floor while waiting on the backordered floor. In this image, you can see the 1x2 box attached to the passenger side floor. This literally took about 30 minutes with the plasma cutter and welder and brought a level of rigidity to the car I havenít had in years. I literally made one long slice along the bottom of the rocker and the entire inner rocker fell down with a pound or more of dirt and crud.




I used the 1x2 brace I installed as a lift point to move the passenger side of the car into position so I could get the sagging door gap to a manageable point. I wanted to do this before I started making braces as it would be difficult to move with the braces and floor installed.





Braced from inside and still holding position without help.




Checking the modified door gap high tech style.






Fortunately the worst part of the rust on this car is the passenger side. As shown above, the inner rocker is completely gone and the outer appears to be cobbled together with whatever someone had lying about. Here we can see various shots of the remnants of the floor on the passenger side.
















I made some simple braces that allow me to get in and out to work, but hold the body steady so I can make cuts and replace metal as needed.









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Old 11-27-2016, 07:12 AM
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Day two of the floor project and Iím well past the point of no return.

I only had a few hours and I made some important milestones today so Iím happy with the progress. The braces are finished, turning work area is a jungle gym and a large portion of the passenger floor has been cut out. The plan is to install left and right inner rocker braces, the rear seat pan, the front floor cross brace, add convertible body mounts finally install the front floors.

After this picture I added one more brace across the rear floor for good measure. Iím using my Miller plasma cutter to make quick work of the big sections, a cordless sawzall for the braces and a spot weld cutter for the delicate work.




As I described earlier, the entire inner rocker structure is gone on the passenger side. What little remained was catching water and dirt to help the car rust further. Beyond that, there is a middle rocker and finally the outer rocker skin you see. On my car, both inner pieces were essentially gone to a point I canít even use them as patterns to make another. The outer was damaged at some point and filled with plastic filler and random bits of poorly shaped metal.



I can only get part of the bends and material thickness from this bit. Fortunately the driverís side is fairly intact. I had repaired the driverís side years ago and only needed to do a small section.






Remains of the evenings work.






To determine the metal thickness I used a sheet metal thickness tool backed by my calipers. Iíll stop by the metal store and grab some 16 gauge (.0625Ē) and bend it on the sheet metal brake to the desired shape.




Tonightís hidden treasure Ė a rusty chisel found inside the passenger rocker. Iím sure this tool was forgotten by some unknown mechanic untold years ago for long lost reasons. Iíve owned this car 23 years and Iím not missing any chisels. Man I wish this car could tell its stories.

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